While the Star-Ledger’s Steve Politi strongly insists that LeBron James blowing off the Nets is blown opportunity to leave a lasting mark on Newark, NJ, the New York TImes’ Jonathan Abrams reports that James’ Ohio meetings this week with a successive of hopeful franchises, “are a mere formality.”

An NBA executive, who did not want to be identified discussing a player who is not yet a free agent, said he had gathered from discussions with his fellow N.B.A. executives that James was strongly leaning toward joining the Bulls in tandem with another free agent, Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors.

œI think it™s a done deal, the executive said.

He said he thought James was going ahead with the meetings in Ohio œto be respectful to all these teams who jumped through these hoops, a reference to the clubs, like the Knicks, who traded reasonably talented players like Jamal Crawford the last two seasons in an effort to open up as much salary-cap space as possible. But if James and Bosh are indeed going to Chicago, moves like the ones the Knicks made will have been done at least partly in vain.

The executive also said that the Dallas Mavericks were trying to join the Ohio meetings with James. Unlike the other potential suitors, however, the Mavericks are over the salary cap and could obtain James only through a sign-and-trade deal with the Cavaliers.

Of James refusal to take part in a nationwide meet & greet tour, Abrams’ source says LBJ, “just saved a lot of people a lot of money”. So that’s good news for Knicks fans, then, who can rest easy knowing that Jim Dolan can pocket the savings from no longer having to employ Phillip Seymour Hoffman to reenact one of his most popular scenes.